paul bennett

Archive for the ‘general web’ Category

I’ve found the command line to be the most reliable and simplest way of managing subversion repositories, but also found the svn:ignore property a little more esoteric to set up than I’d like.

svn:ignore is used to specifiy files and folders you don’t want to be part of the version controlled repository for your site or application build. These often include location specific settings files, development or debugging files etc.

For the benefit of others, here’s my run down to getting this working for my user account on a CentOS server.

1. Set up your default text editor for SVN

First, make sure you have a default text editor set up for subversion. The first time svn runs it builds a config directory, which on a linux server, is a directory named ‘.subversion‘ in your home directory.

Navigate into the .subversion directory (/home/youruseraccount/.subversion) and edit the config file. Uncomment the editor-cmd line and add in the name of the editor you’ll be using (in CentOS it’s nano).

Save your changes and then navigate to the directory where your repository resides.

2. Check which files and folders currently aren’t under version control

You can easily see what files aren’t under version control by running

svn status

and looking for the lines prefixed with a ‘?‘.

3. Add exclusion patterns for files and folders

Add svn:ignore properties for the files and / or folders you want subversion to ignore by running the folling command:

svn propedit svn:ignore directory-name

where directory-name is the directory you want to apply the changes to.

This should open the :ignore properties file in the text editor you specified. You can then enter file and folder names and / or patterns you want ignored. Once you’ve saved the changes, run

svn ci

to check in the property changes.

Now if you run

svn status

the file and folders you specified to ignore won’t be listed and won’t be under version control. Voila!

Further resources:


In the interests of the entire internets (ie: me) I now post some stats from this site, which has been “active” (in the very loosest sense of the word) for about 18 months.

First up, top 17 posts:

Javascript: checking if a function exist 6,074
Internet Explorer 7 CSS filter 5,707
Javascript: testing whether elements or 3,123
MySQL query speed: REGEXP vs. LIKE 2,459
Drupal: Creating custom node templates 2,014
MySQL insert or update in one query 1,128
print_r into a variable 1,117
the password() function – mysql 4 vs. my 1,005
a really short tumblr review 937
Javascript: testing whether elements or 794
EE-YUI: A *full* Rich text editor plugin 741
mysqldump to text file 660
Notes on creating your first Adobe Air a 535
eeyui – a YUI rich text editor for Expre 477
Opera 9.5 CSS filter 396
Solving the Drupal ‘White Screen of Deat 386
MySQL multi insert 378

So, basically people are coming here looking for answers to coding problems. Much like what I do with 90% of the blogs I visit. (Note to self: write more of these)

Now – top 11 search terms

ie7 css filter 547
javascript function exists 512
ie7 specific css 476
tumblr review 399
javascript check if function exists 386
mysql insert or update 188
css filter 183
javascript check function exists 178
javascript if function exists 176
print_r to variable 150
javascript object property exists 137

Basically lining up with the top 5 posts. No prizes for guessing where most of my traffic comes from.

I’m surprised at how much interest my short review of Tumblr has produced.

Top 15 referrers… 251… 77 47… 38 31… 29… 28 27 26 23… 23… 22 22… 21

Some blogs, a Google Code project I administer, my Twitter account,  some comments I’ve left and a few extra bits floating about.

Weirdest Referrer

Um, OK.

Next – traffic summary

This really is something I should use to convince some clients of the value of frequently updating content and doing something (anything!) to promote their sites – and the traffic to this site is tiny.


As you can see – for the first year I didn’t even do anything with the site and since then I’d be lucky if I average one post a month. Despite this, traffic rises – which goes to show the power of writing things that at least a few people are interested in.

Any stats you care to share? Link them up in the comments.

Twitter in the microblogging world now has the pull of Google in the search world – if you’re not ‘on Twitter’ you’re nowhere inn terms of being able to connect, share and promote via microblogging (surmising that Twitter now gets 80 – 90% of microblogging traffic / use.)
This effectively locks the market into one monopoly platform – Twitter.

Imagine this applied to blogging or web publishing. Say there were many publishing services, you could only use one publishing service at a time and publishing service A had 90% of the total traffic and users.

If you weren’t using publishing service A, regardless of the quality of your content, you’d miss out on 90% of the traffic, connection or exposure just by being on a less popular service. Not a nice thought.

Would an open messaging platform – essentially a server application which allows you to create a master account and associate ‘child’ accounts to it for other microblogging services (Twitter, Jaiku et al) make any difference in leveling the microblogging playing field?

The idea is that the platform would broadcast your posts or ‘tweets’ to all your subscribed services, but would also aggregate posts from the users you’re following and stream them back to your ‘open messaging’ client.

Rather than ‘a twitter client’, you could have a general micro blogging client offering not only the power to broadcast your posts to multiple services, but to also aggregate the incoming messages regardless of what service they came from.

It wouldn’t matter what service someone you follow was using (surmising that you also had an account on that service), because in your microblogging client, you’d see one unified stream of updates regardless of the API they were built on.

Microblogging would become a standardised platform in its own right.  Rather than having disparate API’s, an open messaging platform could seek and serve to unify microblogging API’s and REST-based services, or at least provide a simple bridging framework between them.

As we become inundated with more and more data, there is more to do, less time (seemingly) to do it in and more pressure to organise, categorise and find the relevance in all that information.

Case in point – I have a full time job, 3 kids (soon to be 4), do some freelance work to help pay the bills, am completing a degree via correspondence study and on top of this I do a fair amount of volunteer work for my church.

For me time-management isn’t an optional nicety – it’s critical for managing all the busy, and often conflicting facets of my life and ensuring nothing slips through the cracks.

Amongst all this madness I’ve found one sure-fire low-tech way to manage conflicting priorities and deadlines.

  1. Grab a piece of paper – not Notepad, not some online note-jotting thingy. On that piece of paper write down the things which need doing today. Resist the temptation to do this online – I guarantee technology will distract you in some way.
  2. Do the quickest and easiest ones first.
  3. Switch off any distractions (email clients, twitter, extra apps you don’t need), prioritize the remaining tasks and work through them one at a time.

It really is that simple.

Note: no computer involved, no web 2.0 application required, just the ability to write, prioritize and focus.

Call me old fashioned, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do when WinSCP gave me this error message.

choose your destiny, Skywalker!

choose your destiny, Skywalker!

Maybe it didn’t matter? 😉

I got brave recently and installed Ubuntu. At first I was pleasantly surprised at how much of my hardware it picked up (the only thing it missed was my modem) and at the improved quality of the whole experience from the days of Red Hat distro’s seven years ago. However, after a few weeks, I decided to use my XP recovery discs and make the switch back. Here’s why:

  1. Media. As a consumer, I expect my machine to run MP3’s, CD’s and DVD’s out of the box. Trawling around Ubuntu forums adding obscure repositories to APT and installing new software to do this was not pleasant. Or expected.
  2. Video Editing. Basically video editing for Linux doesn’t seem to exist (outside of Pixar or Weta Digital that is). yes there is software out there, it just happens to suck horribly. Or not work at all. I realise most people may not do a lot of this, but with the rise of home video going to the web and home DVD it will only become more important.
    I now understand the pull of Mac even more. The power, stability and security of a Unix kernel along with media software which just works right out of the box.
  3. Camera Drivers. Want to pull video from your camera onto your hard drive? Be sure to let me know how you get on ’cause I certainly couldn’t.
  4. Flash. Flash on Linux was really unstable for me. I’d frequently hear my girls yell out: “Dad, the screens gone grey.”. Enter daddy to restart the browser. Again.
  5. Games. I’m not a PC gamer, but my kids have some software they like to play with. See ‘video editing’ – games on Linux are pretty much non-existent. (Don’t even get me started on WINE, my experience with it was terrible.) Given that 98% of games are built for Windows first and Mac (a poor) second, it’s hard to explain to your family how great Linux is when all they want to do is Just Play Their Game Thank You Very Much And They Can’t Because Stupid Linux Won’t Let Them.

I reinstalled Windows and things just worked. I’ve never been happier with my Windows set up. I now appreciate the effort Redmond put into making sure things just get out of your way and work. XP may not be cool, sexy or l33t h4x0r but it’s fine for me.

Got this in an email at work. Couldn’t resist posting.